Walk this Way on Inauguration Day

January 17, 2013

US CapitalArlington is just a stone’s throw from the nation’s capital, and that means Arlingtonians are within walking distance of countless national events and attractions every year. A big one that rolls around every four years is just a few days away: the Presidential Inauguration.

As the region gears up for Inauguration Day on Monday, January 21, 2013, walking has risen to the top of the short list of preferred "transportation alternatives" for anyone who plans to attend, whether to witness the second swearing-in of Barack Obama or to take in the inaugural parade. In fact, Metro recommends walking for people within 2-3 miles of the Capitol because trains could fill up long before they reach stops within a 2-3 mile radius of the Mall.

Even though the choice may be clear for those of us coming from Arlington (and despite the fact that crowds are expected to be half as large as they were in 2009), there are still many restrictions and caveats to consider -and things can change by the minute. Watch CommuterPage.com, Arlington County’s Presidential Inauguration page, and WalkArlington.com for pedestrian-related updates on topics like bridge access, recommended walking routes, prohibited items, and dressing for the weather!

In the meantime, here are some tried and true tips to prepare you for walking long distances, standing for long periods of time, and facing the prevailing weather conditions when you head out on January 21:

Walking Tips2009 Inauguration crowd

First of all, if you don't typically venture out on long walks, take a minute to check out these basic tips for walking safety and comfort.

Clothing Tips

Then forget the ball gowns and tuxedos and focus on the layers of clothes, socks, and shoes, and outerwear you plan to wear. Check out WalkArlington's suggestions on gear as you lay out your wardrobe-and make sure your outer layer helps you be seen!  You'll also need some basic supplies, like food, water, and maybe hand/foot warmers.

Prohibited Items Tips

On the flipside, you also need to know what NOT to bring. In 2009, the official list of items prohibited in the secure zones for the swearing-in and parade ranged from explosives to umbrellas, posters to coolers. We expect the same if not more, and here’s the list we’ve seen.

What about Strollers?

If you have younger members of your party, the word is that strollers with children in them will be allowed on the Mall, but strollers are not allowed on the Capitol grounds or the parade route.

Cold Weather Tips

And while we don't yet know how the weather will play out come Inauguration Day, it is expected to be cold, so check out these tips on walking in winter.

Last but not least, while walkers will encounter fewer vehicles along their walking routes on January 21, there will be more bicycles, walkers and even out-of-towners than you've probably encountered at one time before, so be a PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful), share our streets, and follow the pedestrian rules of the road.

In other words, use these resources and your common sense to be safe, be seen, and stay warm! 

See you on the Mall on Monday!

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